The debate sparked a European about owning Twitter, or other virtual platforms, about permanently canceling the Twitter account of the outgoing US President, Donald Trump, and the possibility of canceling other accounts.
While Twitter justifies its choice to completely cancel the account because of its use of “inciting violence” and because of “violating the rules” of the internal platform, Internet users around the world are wondering if it is better for the decision to be issued by a judicial authority. In the opinion of some, a decision such as the decision to cancel the account of a head of state (also a great one) must be issued by a court and not by the board of directors of a private company.
The heads of state and government expressed their dissatisfaction with Twitter taking such a step, which some considered “a threat to democracy in the world.” Below are some European reactions.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel
German government spokesman Stephen Seibert said Monday that German Chancellor Angela Merkel considers the permanent closure of many social media networks to President Donald Trump’s accounts as problematic.
Seibert considered that these global sites bear the responsibility for not poisoning the contents of political communication with expressions of hatred and incitement to violence, but that freedom of opinion as a fundamental right of great importance cannot be restricted except through the legislature and not according to the standard that these companies follow.
French government spokesman Gabriel Atal
French government spokesman Gabriel Atal expressed his dissatisfaction with the decision taken by the global Twitter company to close the account of US President Donald Trump, saying: I am “not comfortable” with this decision, especially with the absence of clear and specific criteria.
French Minister of Economy and Finance Bruno Le Maire
The French Minister of Economy and Finance, Bruno Le Maire, considered that this decision was indeed “shocking”, and it indicates the control of a small group on the digital Internet, and therefore this threatens countries and democracy in the world. ”
Le Maire expressed great doubts about whether social media companies alone would be entitled to suspend the accounts of a US president. “For an executive to be able to shut down (Trump’s) rostrum without any controls,” Bruton wrote.
“It is not only a confirmation of the power of these platforms, but it also shows deep weaknesses in the way our society is organized in the digital space,” he added.
Breton also defended recent European Union proposals to further oversee major technology companies, including the Digital Services Act, which provides for fines for platforms for failing to address illegal content.
European Union Commissioner Thierry Breton
A senior European Union official in charge of technology policy said that history will view the storming of the US Congress by Trump supporters as the September 11 attacks on social media platforms.
“Just as the attacks of September 11th pushed in the direction of a paradigm shift to global security, we are witnessing, 20 years before and after (the storming of the Capitol), the role of digital platforms in our democratic systems,” European Union Commissioner Thierry Breton wrote on Politico.
Breton said that the events in Washington revealed “the fragility of our democratic systems and the threat they could pose to their survival as technology companies that are not subject to adequate supervision.”